The InterNIC's Whois service provides a way of finding e-mail addresses, postal addresses and telephone numbers of those who have registered "objects" with the InterNIC. Using Whois, you can also determine whether the domain name you desire is already in use; you can learn who administers a particular site; and you can view a list of a site's name servers.
Whois involves an online database populated with information about networks, networking organizations, domains, sites, and the contacts associated with them. This database is known as the InterNIC database. The names of the administrative and technical contacts for registered domains are automatically entered into the database when domain or IP number applications are processed by the InterNIC. Each entry of the database has a handle (a unique identifier), a name, a record type, and various other fields depending on the type of record.
Users can query a Whois server to access this information through a local Whois client, an interactive telnet session, or e-mail.
For more information, consult RFC 1400 - Transition and Modernization of the Internet Registration Service, which documents the Whois service.
Methods of using Whois are detailed below. The use of italics indicates an optional parameter.
Using a local client
This will search the database on the specified site for an entry which contains identifier, where:
|.||before identifier will cause a name-only search.|
|!||before identifier will cause a handle-only search.|
|... or .||after identifier will cause a partial search: everything starting with identifier will match.|
|@||in identifier will cause a search on the e-mail addresses.|
|*||before identifier will return the entire membership list of the entry that matches identifier (e.g. a site and its registered users).|
|%||before identifier will return only the membership list of the entry that matches identifier (e.g. the registered users of a site).|
In the following descriptions, CAPITAL letters indicate acceptable abbreviation; the use of italics indicates an optional parameter.
|WHOIS||invokes the information retrieval program.|
|?||displays a short on-line help message.|
|HElp||accesses the full on-line help.|
|Q, QUIT, RETURN key||exits WHOIS|
|keyword identifier||searches the database for an entry that contains identifier. The default action is to do a broad search, looking for matches in many fields: handle, name, nicknames, hostname, IP number, etc, and finding all record types. keyword may be used to narrow the search to a specific record type.|
keyword may be any of these:
Special characters may be used in identifier to specify the search:
The special characters may be used together.
Using electronic mail
This electronic mail interface recognizes all the commands described in Using Telnet. Requests should be prefixed with the word WHOIS.
whois DO internicor if you e-mail the command:
whois DO NSFyou will get the following results:
Whois: DO nsf NSF International (NSFI-DOM) NSFI.COM NSF Network Service Center (NNSC) (NSF2-DOM) NSF.NET Nancy's Specialty Foods (NSF3-DOM) NSF.COM National Science Foundation (NSF-DOM) NSF.GOVTo obtain detailed information on the last item, enter or send the command:
whois NSF-DOMand you will get the following result:
Whois: DO NSF-DOM National Science Foundation (NSF-DOM) 4201 Wilson Boulevard Arlington, VA 22230 Domain Name: NSF.GOV Administrative Contact: Roth, Quilla (QR) QROTH@NSF.GOV 703) 306-1153 Technical Contact, Zone Contact: McEwen, Don (DM1074) dmcewen@NSF.GOV (703) 306-1153x4695 ext. 4695 (FAX) (703) 306-0234 Record last updated on 21-Oct-95. Record created on 27-Oct-86. Domain servers in listed order: Y.NSF.GOV 188.8.131.52 BACON.FINANCENET.GOV 184.108.40.206For a partial search on an email address, enter:
whois firstname.lastname@example.org you will get the following result:
Whois: postel@is. Postel, Jon (JBP) POSTEL@ISI.EDU University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute 4676 Admiralty Way Marina del Rey, CA 90292 (310) 822-1511 Record last updated on 05-Mar-93.
Search for domain names beginning with cont:
whois DO cont.and you will receive the following:
Whois: DO cont. Adam J. Conti, Esq. (CONTI-DOM) CONTI.COM Airflight Ltd. (CONTINENTALAIRLINES-DOM) CONTINENTALAIRLINES.COM Allan Simmelly (CONTACT-LENS-SOURCE-DOM) CONTACT-LENS-SOURCE.COM Andrew Louder (CONTRACTOR-DOM) CONTRACTOR.COM Arrick Publishing (CONTROLLER-DOM) CONTROLLER.COM There are 297 more matches. Show them?